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Thread: Ammonia won't go away
05-31-2013, 04:55 AM #1
Ammonia won't go away
I have an understocked 90 gallon tank that has been set up for about a year. Several months ago I had 2 filters running on it, each 70 gallon HOB filters. I took one of them off and gave it to someone and replaced it with a Fluval 306 canister filter. Around this time my ammonia took a spike (nitrite did not spike, remained at zero). Obviously removing that filter caused me to lose my cycle. No problem, I thought. I just did water changes to keep the ammonia level low (consistently around 0.25).
Over a month passed and the ammonia level never went away. I figured I must just not have enough filtration and broke down and bought a Marinelaned Penguin 350 to replace the filter I had lost. With this new filter, in addition to the Fluval 306, I now have even more filtration than I had before I had a problem. However the ammonia level is not going away. Again I continue to do water changes often so that the ammonia level will stay low, but it has never gone away.
The ammonia has been between .25 and .5 in the last several months, before that it was always at 0. The nitrite has never exceeded 0 as far as I am aware. The nitrate has consistently been about 40.
I'm stumped as to why this ammonia will not go away. Any help is appreciated.
05-31-2013, 06:06 AM #2
A 306 alone should be enough to handle an understocked 90g unless you do anything foolish during maintenance. However your story suggests to me that oyu know better than to rinse media under the tap
few things just to make sure:
1. how understocked is it?
2. is it planted?
3. what does your source water test?
4. is the test not out of date?
5. any visible signs of ammonia?
05-31-2013, 06:14 AM #3
1. It's maybe 50% full. Some Black Skirt, Pristella, and Bloodfin Tetras (about 20 total tetras). A few BN Plecos, which aren't full grown. And a few SAE's, which aren't full grown. Everything full grown plus another 10-15 tetras and it might be considered stocked.
2. Heavily planted.
3. Tap water tests 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, PH of 6.8.
4. I have multiple a liquid ammonia test kit and later bought the full master test kit, so I have 2 sets of ammonia tests. Both test the same. Also I have lost a few tetras over the last months. No large numbers, just 1 here and 1 there. Maybe 4 or 5 total. Granted some of these fish are 3 years old and that is their life expectancy, but I doubt it's a coincidence that they died when there was a little ammonia.
5. Yes. The water is very slightly green. Green water is often caused by ammonia so that would be the visible sign. However with frequent changes I've been able to keep the water only a little green as well as the ammonia fairly low.
And yes I only rinse the filter media in the water I've just removed during a water change. The last few weeks I haven't even done that because I was hoping that might help the beneficial bacteria become more established.
Last edited by Zander; 05-31-2013 at 06:17 AM.
05-31-2013, 01:26 PM #4
The new filter might not be fully cycled yet. It can take more than a month to get a filter fully cycled and seasoned when you are cycling with fish. I know the tank and old filter were fully cycled when you changed filters, but it can still take time for the new one to catch up.When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.
I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
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05-31-2013, 01:51 PM #5
06-01-2013, 06:10 AM #6
06-01-2013, 07:04 AM #7
025 Gal - Tropical
Custom made Wet/Dry/Sump Filter System, AquaClear 20 Powerhead, RenaCal Excel 300 Heater, artificial plants
Fish - 7 Blackskirt Tetras, German Blue Ram, Bulldog Pleco, Assassin snail.
"Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success." King Solomon.
Pictures of my 10 Gal Sump Filtration project
06-01-2013, 02:09 PM #8
I agree with all the above.
Something you said makes me think you might have been cleaning your filter media often. Unless you are experiencing a loss of flow, I would not touch the filter media for at least 2 or 3 months (no rinsing) and see if that doesn't promote the BB growth you need to get your ammonia down to 0
Also - 40 is pretty high for nitrates in a heavily planted tank. A shot in the dark: Perhaps you're over feeding? that could cause the high nitrates and perhaps contribute to the ammonia issue. It might also be the reason you feel the need to rinse your media so often because excess waste is building up.
06-01-2013, 03:51 PM #9
I've had that same issue. It's had me in a quandary. Now, you might check your tap water. Mine tested positive for .25 ammonia.
06-23-2013, 03:08 AM #10
Bumping this thread because the issue has not gone away.
It's been nearly a month, 3 partial water changes in that time (12 days since the last one, unusually long, about to do one right now), and the ammonia is still at 0.25. It just won't completely go away.
Please, any suggestions? I have no idea what the problem is.